The True Cost of Patient Discounts

A Closer Look May Reveal Few Actual Benefits of Patient Discounts

I was recently having a conversation with a good friend and dental marketing expert who wanted to promote his practice — without giving up the store. He said that he was interested in trying Quality Dental Plan (QDP), but was concerned that he’d be giving away “free dentistry” if he offered a savings plan to his clients. “Where’s the value in offering savings programs or discounts if it’s going to cost me money?” he asked me.

For a friend, it’s remarkable how little he seemed to understand about QDP, the mindset of today’s consumer, and simple human nature. Actually, the same could be said about most of us. As dentists, we tend to focus on improving our clinical skills and becoming better oral healthcare providers, not becoming better at the business side of the practice.

Actual Cost Break-Down: A Real-Life Scenario

I questioned him about what methods he currently uses to generate new patients.  His response was that his practice offers a new patient special: “$49 for a new patient exam and x-rays,” he tells me.

I asked him if he knew how much it was really costing him. He was confused and added, “It costs me nothing. I make money when the patients come back.” So how do you know if they will come back?

Let’s take a close look at my friend’s new patient discount:

  • In his office a new patient exam is $89 and a complete set of films with pano is $124, which totals $213.
  • Now subtract $49 from $213 and you’ll see that my friend is losing $164 with each of these discounts. That’s a whopping 77% discount! I don’t know about you, but to me that seems awfully steep. You can do the math for your office.
  • Each new patient is costing him $164 or 77%. And that’s NOT including the marketing dollars paid to get the word out about his $49 deal.

Take Back Control of Your Practice

Under the QDP system, you have the ability to bundle services like prophys, x-rays and exams and get paid in full and in advance for each membership. And you can determine your own discount, ensuring that it’s nowhere near 77%.

Quality Dental Plan is seen as a high-value benefit by people who are tired of spending a fortune on yearly insurance premiums for their families. Consumers like the idea of savings plans and the benefits that come with them. QDP shows you how to effectively and profitably provide the patients in your area with the sort of long-term value that they want.

My friend thanked me. He’d never looked at the numbers that way. He was excited to take control of his practice again. What about you?